Inclusion and
Community Life

Action Plan to Strengthen Equity, Inclusion, and Campus Culture

From Head of School John P.N. Austin:

Like all educational institutions, Deerfield can evolve, improve, and build on the accomplishments of the past: We are fortunate in having strong traditions of engagement and a foundation of values based on equity and fairness that will see us forward and support future action. Even before I officially joined the Deerfield community, I was drawn to the Academy for its leadership role in national and international education; for its ethos and values; for the fact that for more than 200 years, Deerfield has been building its culture outward—from its defining strengths—resisting complacency and embracing thoughtful, studied change relentlessly focused on the quality of the student learning experience. The mission of a great school like Deerfield is never complete or finished; it is provisional, aspirational, and always in process. As one of our students—a member of the Class of 2021—recently noted with great wisdom and humility: “You can love Deerfield and also want it to be better.”


Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history. The campaign for a federal holiday in Dr. King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.

Each year, the Deerfield community gathers together to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King through a day of workshops, guest speakers, performances, and volunteer work. 

Programs and Events

Cross the Valley is Deerfield’s campaign to expand and sustain cultural competency among all community members – a key phase of the Strategic Plan for Inclusion. Cultural competency skills allow us to communicate across differences even when it seems like we’re mountains apart. With new students and employees joining Deerfield each year, the need for building and practicing cultural competency skills remains a constant in our community. When we cross the valley, the entire community benefits.


The Office of Inclusion and Community Life works to ensure that Deerfield Academy encourages acceptance and understanding of differences pertaining to race, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, geographical origin, and sexual orientation at all institutional levels. Through trainings, lectures, special programs, and short and long term strategic goals, the office collaborates with all departments to support a campus-wide conversation and effort leading to the development of institutional priorities for sustaining diversity work.

Leadership Opportunities

The OICL Task Force

Shastri Akella 
English Teacher

Paulina Baltazar
CSGC Program Coordinator

Heather Brown
CSGC Associate Director

Amie Creagh, Chair
Assistant Head of School for Student Life

Roland Davis

Ivory Hills, Chair 
Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs and Strategy

Erin Hutchinson
College Advisor and CSGC Assistant Director

David Miller
Director of Educational Initiatives and Assistant to the Head of School for Special Projects

Mark Scandling
English Teacher

John Taylor, Chair
Dean of Faculty

Discipline Review Task Force

Chijioke Achebe ’21, Student Body President

Sam Bicknell, Dean of Students

Willy Conzelman ’21, Senior Class Representative

Amie Creagh, Assistant Head of School for Student Life (convener)

Claire Cummings ’21 Senior Class Representative

Dr. Ivory Hills, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs and Strategy

Sheryl Koyama, Director of Academic Support, Math Teacher, and Academic Honor Committee/Disciplinary Committee member

Angela Osei-Ampadu ’21, Student Council Chair

Conrad Pitcher, History Teacher and Academic Honor Committee/Disciplinary Committee member

Dr. Josh Relin, Director of Counseling

Mark Spencer, Dean of College Advising

Frequently Asked Questions

A fully inclusive and supportive school culture that embraces and honors the individuality of each student requires systematic effort across every dimension of school life. This is the foundation upon which our Strategic Plan for Inclusion was built, and our Vision Statement for Inclusion is as follows: “We are a community that values and affirms the distinct identities and differences of each person. Diverse perspectives fuel creative and innovative thinking, build empathy and consideration, and provide varied skills and experiences from which the entire community benefits. As a community, we consider cultural competency essential to the pursuit of excellence and success, both on campus and beyond.”

The Deerfield Academy Strategic Plan for Inclusion may be viewed here.

Our student handbook and policies make clear that Deerfield does not tolerate hateful speech. In furtherance of our expectations for respectful and responsible behavior on and off campus, we are in the process of conducting a comprehensive review of our policies to ensure that they are well understood and the consequences are clear across our campus community. That review will continue over the course of the fall and include input from students, parents, and faculty.

Contact Inclusion and Community Life

Main School Building

7 Boyden Lane
Deerfield, MA 01342